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Before He Became Jesse Pinkman, Aaron Paul Once Completely Bombed an Audition For J.J. Abrams Because Of a Magic Trick

(yes this story is from 2016, but it's something I just stumbled upon that I doubt most of you know so here's ya go)

Last night I was rewatching Mission Impossible III because Ethan Hunt is awesome and that movie does not get old. As I started it they open at Hunt's house where he and his fiancé are throwing an engagement party. I've seen this movie countless times, but this was the first time I noticed a certain gentleman at the party…

Jesse Fucking Pinkman. What in the world? Turns out yes that is in fact Aaron Paul, and this was his first kinda big break into the movie world. I hopped on the Google machine to find out anything about this role and up came across this interaction he had with J.J. Abrams and Tom Cruise during the audition. It looks like Paul was tipped off by a buddy that Abrams liked magic tricks. Considering he never had been in any kind of movie like this he figured he'd go above and beyond to snag the role. 

The actor had been told by a friend of his who worked with Abrams on Lost that the director loves magic tricks, and, since magic is also a favorite of Paul’s, suggested that he bring up the topic while on set to forge a bond between himself and Abrams. So, Paul did just that, and was then encouraged by Abrams to perform a card trick in front of everyone, including star Tom Cruise. He did, but the trick failed miserably, as Paul had told Abrams that it would, and it led to quite an awkward moment on set, even after he performed another card trick that goes somewhat better for him.  -Cinema Blend

Hilarious to try and imagine Aaron Paul standing in front of Abrams and Cruise doing a goddamn magic trick to land this minuscule role, but every actor has to start somewhere. You have to stand out somehow, I don't knock the hustle one bit. You gotta do whatever you can to crack into the business. Well, as embarrassing and awkward as it sounds like it went, Paul got the role and his 5 seconds of fame in the beginning of the movie. That set up a future encounter with Abrams that was stunning. 

Aaron Paul was this time auditioning for Cloverfield. I assume this was for Hud, TJ Miller's character, which would have fit him perfectly. How'd it go? Well it was a complete and utter disaster. 

I walk in and J.J.’s there. He brings up the magic trick story and I lose my train of thought. I have three pages of a monologue that I memorized. That was my audition. He has me tell the story about the card trick and now I’m super awkward. He’s like, ‘Now, let’s get started,’ and I start doing this monologue and I completely lose my train of thought and I stop and I apologize to J.J. He’s like ‘That’s okay. Thanks for coming in.’ I’m like ‘See ya’ and I walked out. It was awful.

That son of a bitch brought up the card trick disaster right before he started reading his lines! So Abrams is a real asshole huh? Bringing that up in that moment is so fucked up. I would have melted into a puddle and that appears to be what happened to Paul. He forgot his entire three page monologue that he had memorized. For me to memorize anything I need to be completely locked in and have zero distractions. If I see a fly on the wall I'm gone. Any little thing to trip me up and I've got nothing. Aaron Paul just walked out of the audition realizing he forgot everything. 

You spend all that time preparing for the biggest role of your life and in a matter of seconds you just punt on the whole thing. I respect it. Probably the best thing to happen to him since he got the Breaking Bad gig at pretty much the same time. Cloverfield was great, but Breaking Bad changed that man's life. The butterfly effect here is pretty nuts when you think about it. Who's to say if we even know the name Aaron Paul right now if not for this card trick debacle. Just an interesting little story to get you through your Friday. 

Reminder tonight is Rough N' Rowdy. Head over to and have yourself a night.